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Spotlight on Innovation: Mcgyan Biodiesel

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 9:57 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit tomorrow.

Mcgyan Biodiesel created a new way to produce biodiesel that is changing how the industry produces this renewable fuel. The key to this new technology is a “highly efficient, heterogeneous metal oxide-based catalyst reactor that efficiently and economically converts feedstock plant oils and animal fats to biodiesel.”

There are several benefits to this revolutionary biodiesel process, including the reaction time and effectiveness.  The Mcgyan process takes only seconds while other biodiesel processes take hours. More importantly, current waste products such as grease / used cooking oil, animal tallow, and a variety of plant oils can all be used whereas other processes are limited in their materials.


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Spotlight on Innovation: Twin Star Medical

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 2:11 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

Twin Star Medical is a Minnesota medical technology company pioneering the use of microporous catheters to aspirate and to infuse fluids as a local therapeutic intervention for a number of unmet medical needs.  The first product to be introduced by Twin Star Medical has obtained FDA clearance and is being launched in the U.S. to treat complications from fractures.

The Department of Defense is funding clinical studies for additional FDA indications along with other product modifications for use in theater.  A second product resulting from Twin Star’s research is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) catheter, for which pivotal animal studies have been completed. It is poised for human studies next year.  Localized drug delivery is the next focus for the Twin Star Medical technology, with the initial clinical indications for direct delivery of cancer drugs to the tumor and surrounding tissue, across a range of tumor locations.


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Spotlight on Innovation: AUM Cardiovascular

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

AUM Cardiovascular is a Minnesota company that helps doctors better diagnose and treat blockages in the heart with a device called the CADence System.  The founder of the company, Dr. Marie Johnson, developed algorithms and signal processing techniques used to detect and analyze heart disease after losing her husband to a heart attack in 2002.  AUM Cardiovascular and its talented team turned what was a tragedy into 2011’s top innovation, the CADence system.

The CADence system is a non-invasive, hand-held device capable of detecting coronary artery disease in roughly 20 seconds.  Compared to other tests, the CADence system is much faster, does not require a dedicated space or specialized staff, has very little cost for each patient, and also does not require pharmaceutical dye.  These revolutionary features make the CADence test more practical and readily available.


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Spotlight on Innovation: Xollai

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

Xollai is a Minnesota systems engineering firm founded by four classmates at the University of St. Thomas in 2008.  Robert Malecki, Ryan Thompson, Lue Her, and Anthony Giang were dubbed “The Dream Team” by their professors and peers for their ability to create solutions to problems that had previously been thought to be impossible. The students first gained notoriety for their work on an advanced automated guidance technology for unmanned aerial vehicles. After being told that such a technology could not be done, they decided to take their work one step further. In Robert Malecki’s living room, they formed a company to take their first product, xOARS, to market.

Since then, Xollai has pioneered advances in feedback control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced image processing for computerized recognition, and visualized audio analysis for musicians. The company is now headquartered on University Avenue in St. Paul and has grown to 10 employees. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of private and public grants have been used to fund Xollai’s growth and research. One million dollars are currently being sought by Xollai to bring its products to market.

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Spotlight on Innovation: ReconRobotics

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 9:11 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week.

When a tactical police unit is faced with a dangerous situation, reconnaissance can be the difference between life and death. In these cases, it is vital to have a clear sense of the surroundings, the position of the gunmen, and the condition of any other people on the scene. Units looking to get the best recon without putting their men needlessly at risk have turned to an exciting new partner: robots. From an otherwise normal looking office building, adjacent to a golf course in Edina, robots are the business of ReconRobotics.

The robots that the company builds provide essential assistance to police units and military squads, giving them the recon needed to act safely and decisively. The company’s foremost robot is the Recon Scout Throwbot. With two wheels connected by a cylindrical chassis, the robot resembles a dumbbell. Piloting the robot from a distance, the user receives real-time video from wherever the robot goes.

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Spotlight on Innovation: EarthClean

Posted on October 19, 2011 at 12:18 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Technology

This is part of a series, “Spotlight on Innovation,” featuring companies who will have exhibits in Innovation Hall at the Governor’s Job Summit next week. 

EarthClean is a Minnesota-based innovator in the field of delivering more effective, environmentally friendly, fire suppressant products.  EarthClean prides itself on building an international company with a goal “to change the way the world fights fires.” 

There has been growing concern over the toxicity of existing firefighting foams and how they can be harmful to fish, mammals, plants and the watershed.  EarthClean’s first product, TetraKO, is a direct response to this concern. 

Unlike all other products in its category, TetraKO employs a patented formula that provides an incredibly effective fire suppressant when mixed with water.  This technology transforms water into a gel that can be pumped through standard firefighting equipment and adheres to structures and vegetation creating a fire suppression coating. Once the gel is heated by fire, TetraKO converts to a steam that quickly suffocates the fire.  EarthClean hopes that TetraKO will have a significant impact in reducing fire damage, loss of lives, water damages and loss of wildlife, while providing better protection to fire fighters and to the environment.


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New solar energy plant celebrates grand opening on Iron Range

Posted on October 12, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Categories: Environment, Jobs, Technology

This week a new solar energy plant celebrated its grand opening on the Iron Range.  Minnesota was chosen for Seattle-based Silicon Energy’s second plant because of a state incentive program encouraging the purchase of solar panels made in-state.

IRRRB provided $1.5 million in equipment loans for the project and the agency worked over several months to create a package to assist Silicon Energy with building a plant in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. The company has already hired 15 employees and plans to add additional employees over the next few months in manufacturing, engineering, and sales. 

Minnesota Public Radio highlighted the news earlier this week:

Mountain Iron, Minn. — A new solar energy plant on the Iron Range celebrated a grand opening Monday.

Seattle-based Silicon Energy began training workers to produce photovoltaic systems at a plant in Mountain Iron last month. Minnesota was chosen for Silicon Energy's second plant because of a state incentive program encouraging purchase of solar panels made in-state, said company president Gary Shaver.


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Lt. Governor Prettner Solon Recognized Nationally For Her Leadership On Energy and The Environment

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 12:18 PM
Categories: Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon, Technology

Minnesota Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon was today awarded the 2011 Public Leadership in Energy and Environmental Stewardship award, a nationwide recognition of her work on energy and the environment.  Prettner Solon is the first-ever recipient of this newly established, annual award presented by General Electric in partnership with the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA).    
 
Presenting the award, Paul Doucette of GE said: “Lt. Governor Prettner Solon has an impressive list of legislative accomplishments advancing clean energy, renewable energy and conservation. Just last month, the Lt. Governor spoke to a ‘Focus the Nation’ event regarding her continuing work to shepherd progress on clean energy legislation and standards passed during her chairmanship in the legislature.”
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